Childhood & Early Life
Piper Lisa Perabo was born on October 31, 1976, in Dallas, Texas, US, to George William Perabo, a professor of poetry at ‘Ocean County College,’ and Mary Charlotte (née Ulland), a physical therapist. She was named after American stage and screen actress Piper Laurie.
She is of English, German, and Irish descent from her father’s side and Norwegian descent from her mother’s side. She grew up in Toms River, New Jersey with her two younger brothers Noah and Adam.
She studied at the ‘Toms River High School North’ and completed her graduation from there in 1994. Thereafter, she attended ‘Honors Tutorial College’ at ‘Ohio University’ and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theater in 1998. The last year of her college also saw her studying Latin, poetry, and physics.
During her college days, she went to New York to visit her then boyfriend. She was spotted by casting director Denise Fitzgerald when she accompanied her boyfriend to an audition. Subsequently, Fitzgerald helped her in getting an agent.
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Following her graduation, she relocated to New York and worked as a waitress. In New York, she started studying acting at the off-Broadway theatre ‘La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club’ and performed in various on-stage productions.
She made her on-screen acting debut with the short film ‘Single Spaced’ (1997). Her first feature film was the September 10, 1999 released American comedy ‘Whiteboyz.’
She essayed the starring role of ‘Violet "Jersey" Sanford’ in the American romantic musical comedy drama film ‘Coyote Ugly’ which was based on the American drinking establishment ‘Coyote Ugly Saloon.’
Considered Perabo’s breakthrough film, ‘Coyote Ugly’ released on August 4, 2000 and became a blockbuster hit, grossing $113.9 million at the box office. It earned her a ‘MTV Movie Award’ under the ‘Best Music Moment’ category for ‘One Way or Another.’
Her next role was ‘FBI Agent Karen Sympathy’ in the live action/animated adventure comedy flick ‘The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.’ The film was based on Jay Ward’s TV cartoon ‘The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.’ Released on June 30, 2000 (US), the film also featured animated characters ‘Rocky’ and ‘Bullwinkle.’ Unfortunately, the film failed commercially.
She then turned her attention towards independent films and essayed the lead role of ‘Pauline "Paulie" Oster’ in the Léa Pool directed 2001 Canadian drama ‘Lost and Delirious.’ Her brilliant performance in the film earned her widespread acclaim as well as appreciation from critics.
Her popularity increased with the release of Shawn Levy’s American family comedy film ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ where she played ‘Nora Baker,’ the eldest child of the ‘Bakers,’ played by Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. The film, which released on December 25, 2003, became a smashing hit, grossing $190.2 million at the box office.
She then showcased her versatility by performing in films of different genres. These films included psychological thriller ‘The I Inside’ (2004), Sci-Fi Channel Historical fantasy ‘George and the Dragon’ (2004), action horror ‘The Cave’ (2005) and romantic comedy ‘Imagine Me & You’ (2005).
She reprised her role as ‘Nora’ in the 2005 sequel of ‘Cheaper by the Dozen,’ ‘Cheaper by the Dozen 2’ which released on December 21 that year. Like its predecessor, the film became a commercial hit, grossing $129.1 million at the box office.
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She then featured in many other films. Some notable ones include ‘The Prestige’ (2006), ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’ (2008), ‘The Lazarus Project’ (2008), and ‘Looper’ (2012).
After making a mark on big-screen, she forayed into television with the popular American television medical drama ‘House.’ She played ‘Honey,’ a nutritionist, in the 22nd episode of the series’ third season (overall 68th episode) titled ‘Resignation’ which aired on May 8, 2007.
She went on to feature in other TV productions, such as ‘Backdrop NYC’ (2008), the TV film ‘The Prince of Motor City (2008), and ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ (2009).
Meanwhile in 2008, she performed in Neil LaBute’s play ‘Reasons to Be Pretty’ at the ‘Lucille Lortel Theatre’ which marked her Off-Broadway debut. Her other performance at the ‘Lucille Lortel Theatre’ was in the play ‘Lost Girls’ in 2015.
One of Perabo’s most remarkable portrayals so far is the lead role of ‘CIA Agent Annie Walker’ in the USA Network action drama TV series ‘Covert Affairs.’ She ended up reading the script of the series while performing in ‘Reasons to Be Pretty.’
Before reading the script of ‘Covert Affairs’ Perabo was not interested in performing in television series. Since she did not have interesting film scripts at the time, she ended up reading the script of ‘Covert Affairs’ as suggested by her agent. The character of ‘CIA Agent Annie Walker’ fascinated her so much that she took up the role. As it turned out, it proved to be one of the most memorable roles of her career.
‘Covert Affairs,’ starring Perabo and Christopher Gorham, premiered on July 13, 2010 and ran for five seasons till December 18, 2014. The popular series received positive reviews from critics. It not only increased Perabo’s popularity but also earned her critical acclaim.
She won the ‘Outstanding Female Actor in a Breakthrough Role’ award at the 2011 ‘Gracie Award’ for ‘Covert Affairs.’ The series also earned her a nomination for ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama’ at the 68th ‘Golden Globe Awards.’
Some of her other TV roles include ‘Simone’ in the NBC aired American sitcom ‘Go On’ (2013) and ‘Julia George’ in the ABC aired American crime and legal drama series ‘Notorious’ (2016). The latter earned her a nomination for ‘Favorite Actress in a New TV Series’ at the 2017 ‘People's Choice Award.’
In June 2019, Perabo was cast as ‘Sara’ in the Netflix comedy series ‘Turn Up Charlie.’ The same year, she was also seen in the movie ‘Angel Has Fallen.’
In 2013, Piper Perabo got engaged to Stephen T. Kay, a New Zealand actor, director, and writer. Kay directed and produced ‘Covert Affairs’ that had Perabo in the lead. The two married in New York City on July 26, 2014. Perabo is the stepmother to Kay's daughter.
Perabo is the co-owner of the prohibition-themed bar ‘Employees Only’ which is located in West Village, Manhattan. She also co-owns ‘Jack's Wife Freda’ restaurant located in SoHo, Lower Manhattan.
She is a proponent of LGBT rights.